Tuesday, February 13, 2018

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION


Today's daily Mass reading from the Letter to St. James, tells us that God does not lead us into temptation.

Thus is Pope Francis right in suggesting that the English translation of the Our Father is misleading or have we forgotten about the "understood you" in English grammar?

Of course I don't expect Pope Francis to understand the "understood" you in English grammar, although it may be present in other languages. But who am I to judge.

But English speakers may no longer remember the understood "you" or may never have been taught it.

But when "you" put the "you" into the Lord's Prayer controversial petition, you begin to see what the true meaning our our ecumenical Lord's Prayer is actually telling you.

(You) lead us not into temptation but (You) deliver us from evil. 

Those of you who understand the understood you have never had a problem with this translation of the Our Father. But those of you who are clueless about this rule in English grammer, you misunderstand the Our Father as does our Holy Father.

Thus a grammatical correction for you who misunderstand. 

An example for you from literature and [] read it below:

"I don't care if she's a murderer! [] Leave her alone! [] Get out of here and [] leave her alone! All of you! [] Get out of here!"
(Bethany Wiggins, Shifting. Bloomsbury, 2011)  

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

For serious translators, the question is does the "You Understood" exist in the languages upon which the English translation of the Our Father is based.

"Lead us not into temptation" is one of the seven petitions of the prayer.
Give us this day...
Forgive us our sins...
Lead us not into temptation...
Deliver us from evil...

If "you" is added, though, the meaning is changed from a petition to a statement.
You give us our daily bread...
You forgive our sins...
You lead us not into temptation...
You deliver us from evil...

So, the intention of the original language, Greek, must be deciphered.

rcg said...

I’m skeptical of this tact. This Prayer seems to continue the attitude and understanding of the Psalmist: as we forgive, we are cared for. If we get sideways with the Almighty he has the option to lead us into temptation and destruction. If we are humble and faithful He will lead us through it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But, but, but...

Give...
Forgive...
Lead...
Deliver...

if used without the "You" understood or explicit, are not petitions to God (in English, at any rate) but rather commands.

Gene said...

Perhaps God's good and perfect and inscrutable will might lead someone into temptation...God hardens the hearts of the apostate, he confuses them in their willful ignorance. We are praying, "do not let us be among the hard of heart, the confused, the rabble rousers." And, God's will being perfect and all knowing, did he not, indeed, lead His own son into temptation through Satan in the wilderness? Quit messing with the prayer and wringing your hands...trying to re-make God in our own image. "You," indeed.

Anonymous said...

Not commands, petitions.

We are asking God to give us our daily bread, to forgive our sins, to lead us not into temptation, to deliver us from evil.

Again, is the "you understood" there in the Greek?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am not a Greek scholar nor have I had Greek, so it's Greek to me but to [you] is it?

rcg said...

They are “prayer” as petition and begging. We might also get chucked into the unquenchable fire. Whose Hand do you think will do that?

Henry said...

"(You) lead us not into temptation but (You) deliver us from evil."

This interpretation in terms of assertion--about what God does or does not do--is not only wrong-headed nonsense. It reflects an outright ignorance of Catholic belief about the Lord's Prayer.

At one time, every Catholic child learned that the Lord's Prayer consisted of seven distinct petitions--not statements or assertions. And perhaps learned to count them off with his fingers as he prayed them.

Here we're dealing with the the last 2 of these 7 petitions--(6)that we not be lead into temptation, and (7)that we be delivered from evil. Even the spongy Catechism of the Catholic Church gets it right:

VI. "AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"

2846 This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to "lead" us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both "do not allow us to enter into temptation" and "do not let us yield to temptation." . . . .

VII "BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL"

2850 The last petition to our Father is also included in Jesus' prayer: "I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one."

Anonymous said...

"It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word:..."

This is, I think, what motivated Pope Francis to consider if there is not a better was to express in English, and other modern languages, the concept that is contained in the Greek.

"Do not allow us" or "Do not let us yield" have a different connotation in English than "Lead us not."

His Holiness was contemplating what might be a better was to express this petition.

John Nolan said...

There is no point in PF questioning vernacular renditions of the Our Father, which are merely translations of the definitive Latin text.

'Sanctificetur', 'adveniat', 'fiat' are subjunctives (often expressed in English by using the word 'may').

'Da', 'dimitte' and 'libera' are imperatives. Of course we don't command God in the sense of ordering Him about; the imperative mood is also used for petitions. One may, of course, preface a petition with 'please' - the Latin of the Collects frequently has its equivalent - but there is no 'you', implicit or explicit in English.

'Ne nos inducas' is a jussive subjunctive (in the negative) which has the same force and meaning as the imperative.

When St Jerome made his translation, koine Greek was a current language, and to suggest that he mistranslated this phrase, either accidentally or deliberately, is absurd. As a scholar, PF is not in Jerome's league, and I can't see him or anyone else tampering with the Latin text.

'Lead us not' is more elegant than the modern 'do not lead us', but the meaning is identical. Perhaps PF is harking back to the bad old days of 'dynamic equivalence' or 'we're not going to tell you what the prayer really means, we're going to tell you what we think it should mean, and we'll assume that you, unlike us, are a bunch of ignoramuses who can't read Latin'

rcg said...

I really don’t like Pope bashing but this an example of PF remarks being pastorally lousy and perhaps ignorant (that *is*the charitable version). If he wants to set up some sort of peripatetic then he needs to finish it or not start it.

John Nolan said...

The use of the second person pronoun in an imperative context actually emphasizes the idea of command.

'Hence! home you idle creatures, get you home!' (Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 1, line 1)

James J. said...

John

'Sanctificetur', 'adveniat', 'fiat' are subjunctives (often expressed in English by using the word 'may').

Ok, at first I could see "may thy kingdom com" and "may thy will be done" but not "may thy name be Hallowed" .

I then found out that hallowed can be defined as revered or venerated and not just "holy".

John Nolan said...

James J

'Hallowed be thy name' is of course subjunctive in English, and passive; 'sanctificare' means 'to sanctify, to treat as holy'. So the obvious sense is 'may your name be regarded (i.e. by us) as holy'.

I think that most commentators have picked up on Fr Allan's error. The 'you understood' applies to imperative sentences (commands). A command has to be addressed to someone or some people. The 'you understood' does NOT change the mood from imperative to indicative.

'Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.' (Improperia, Good Friday)

The last two words are rendered in some Latin-English hand missals as 'Answer thou me.' Others just have 'Answer me.' The 'thou' is understood. 'You answer me' can, out of context, be taken for an indicative rather than an imperative, which is why the 'you' is usually dropped.